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Tattling on bad parents: Also bad parenting?

John_Bourne._Woman_and_ChildI have advocated for a long time that when it comes to parenting it takes a village. In big ways and especially in small ways.

I will always think fondly (and a little enviously) of visits to my inlaws, in which aunts weren’t afraid to discipline nieces, or carry their squirmy, dirty bodies over their shoulders to the bathtub, whether it was her own child or not. Such are the benefits of a bigger family.

I’d like to believe that this notion extends to the community as well, although, let’s say not at bath time. However if my kids are knocking over some little kid in the playground en route to the slide, I want to know about it. If my baby were having a crying spell in the elevator or on an airplane, how much would I love if a neighbor asked me how they can help, instead of communicating through every non-verbal means possible that I have ruined their lives for years to come. I love the positive commitment we can try and have to one another and how it really can make our moments, our days, even our lives better.

But I have thought a lot recently about where the courtesy ends, and unhelpful judgment begins. Continue reading